Areas of Specialization

The current research pursued by Pitt sociologists is focused in the program's two areas of specialization: Social Movements and Politics & Culture. Our faculty use a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and focus on many areas of the globe. 

Social Movements

Everywhere we look in the twenty-first century, we find efforts to change and efforts to resist change. Pitt Sociology faculty and graduate students study a variety of past and present social movements in the United States and worldwide. Our department is home to the Pittsburgh Social Movement Forum, a setting for discussions of new ideas in social-movement studies, lectures, presentations of student and faculty work-in-progress, and book discussions among scholars from various departments and universities in the Pittsburgh area. The Pittsburgh Social Movement Forum also sponsors speakers and mini-conferences on major social-movement issues. Our recent emphases have been on state repression of social movements, global labor organizing, race and collective action in prisons, and emotions in social movement research, among many more. 

Politics & Culture

This area synthesizes political and cultural sociology, joining exciting new directions in social science inquiry. Our department sponsors a Politics & Culture speaker series which brings prominent scholars to campus and works with Pitt's graduate program in Cultural Studies to promote politics, culture, and their intersection. We define the area of Politics & Culture broadly, from micro studies of interpersonal and intergroup interaction to macro studies of global processes.